Friday, November 04, 2016

Friends + Neighbors in the Age of Trump | Vote

Jim Henderson | Imam Kamil Mufti | Rabbi Daniel Bogard | Pastor Jim Powell in Peoria IL October 30, 2016
Just back from Peoria, Illinois, where we premiered selected clips from the forthcoming No Joke documentary, in which a rabbi, an imam, and a preacher find out what it means to live together in peace as neighbors and Honest-to-God friends for life.

Running in parallel with the good-natured, often joyous, exchanges between the Rabbi Daniel Bogard,  Imam Kamil Mufti, and Pastor Jim Powell, I found a distressing thread of apprehension among American Muslims and Jews I talked with at the end of the evening: They are afraid for their safety from followers of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, and they are afraid for their wellbeing should Mr. Trump be elected.

And why wouldn't they be afraid?

On January 6, 1941, in his State of the Union Address to the 77th Congress, Franklin D. Roosevelt declared:
In the future days, which we seek to make secure, we look forward to a world founded upon four essential human freedoms. 
The first is freedom of speech and expression — everywhere in the world. 
The second is freedom of every person to worship God in his own way — everywhere in the world. 
The third is freedom from want — which, translated into world terms, means economic understandings which will secure to every nation a healthy peacetime life for its inhabitants - everywhere in the world. 
The fourth is freedom from fear — which, translated into world terms, means a world-wide reduction of armaments to such a point and in such a thorough fashion that no nation will be in a position to commit an act of physical aggression against any neighbor — anywhere in the world. 
That is no vision of a distant millennium. It is a definite basis for a kind of world attainable in our own time and generation.
Donald Trump has pledged to selectively dismantle each of these freedoms at the expense of all who are not White Christian Americans.

And so, it is White Christian Americans who must stand against Mr. Trump on Election Day to protect our fellow citizens of every race, every religion, and every economic condition from the assaults we would never, in a thousand millennia, wish on ourselves or our children.

If Rabbi Bogard and Imam Mufti are not, explicitly, my neighbors, then I have misunderstood, or distorted, what it means to be a Christian.

I can — and perhaps should — express this commitment to every Black American, every Native American, every Asian American, every Latin American, every Pacific Islander; and to people of every religion and no religion ... to every one among us ... but this is not a list-making exercise. I think the idea is reasonably clear.

If I do not stand up for the rights and protections of my neighbors as vigorously as I stand up for my own rights and protections, then I'm afraid I am a sorry excuse for an American.

Standing for the four freedoms — applied equally to every one of us — begins with the ballot I cast. My vote is not everything, but it is the first thing that makes protecting and advancing the four freedoms easier, or harder, in 21st-century America.

No comments: